Neal Shusterman

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Themes and Colors
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Scythe, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Coming of Age

Scythe introduces the reader to a world several hundred years in the future, in which humanity has conquered death, illness, and poverty. When a person decides they've become too old, they can have their bodies "reset" down to a younger age and go through the physical aging process again. Because nobody dies a natural death and the population growth is spinning out of control, society has come up with a worldwide system of "scythes," people…

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Mortality and Life

By making a number of comparisons between the novel's present day and the past "Age of Mortality," Scythe closely considers what it means to be alive, and how that changes when the chances of dying are statistically slim. Through this, Scythe paints a picture of a society that has made major advancements, but it also suggests that humanity loses a number of important things when it attains immortality, including passion, purpose, and in some cases…

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Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice

In the world of Scythe, politics as they existed in the Age of Mortality no longer exist. Instead, the world is governed by the Thunderhead, a sentient, all-knowing, and reliably fair version of the modern-day "cloud." While the Thunderhead can perform any number of necessary tasks and services, like call for ambudrones, police infractions, and monitor the populace from its many cameras, it does have one blind spot: by design, it cannot watch…

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Morality, Compassion, and Choices

As the novel draws the reader deeper into the political divisions within the scythe organization and specifically, after Citra and Rowan are taken on by Scythe Curie and Scythe Goddard respectively, Scythe asks a number of questions about morality and human nature. By comparing the different licensed scythes and how they choose to train their apprentices, Scythe considers whether or not behaving morally and compassionately is something a person will do when there are few…

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